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WASHINGTON – Neo-Nazi skinheads are working with radical Islamists in a growing unholy alliance that has European law enforcement officials concerned about a new front in the war on terrorism, reports Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin, the premium, online intelligence newsletter published by the founder of WND.
Sources in the UK, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Italy, Switzerland and in the Middle East are warning that the world should not be surprised to see young, white males involved in terrorism and in league with Osama bin Laden.
Just a few years ago, Muslims represented one of the biggest harassment targets of neo-Nazi skinheads in Europe. But anti-Muslim hate crimes by skinheads have seen a dramatic drop-off – even as their movement takes on more visibility and bigger numbers.
“In business they ignore the race,” said an Italian official.
Law enforcement officials fear skinheads and neo-Nazis could provide not just additional numbers to the Islamic terrorist cause but also some operatives who would defy profiling efforts.
Skinheads can easily cover their tattoos and wear respectable clothing to deceive police and immigration authorities, say police officials. An Italian police expert on gang activities said it is known skinheads travel as far as Australia, South Africa and the Indian sub-continent “at times looking like the boy next door or a student on vacation.” He also revealed Italian agents are aware of a number of meetings between gang leaders, radical Islamic students and organized crime bosses.
The chilling possibility that Muslim terrorists and neo-Nazis may combine forces was raised as a distinct possibility by Israel’s president last month.
On a visit to commemorate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Israel and Germany, Moshe Katsav declared, “Let us not be surprised if one day terror organizations use neo-Nazis to carry out terrorist attacks.”
The majority of Muslims in Europe are law-abiding citizens, he added. But Muslim extremists may form alliances with neo-Nazis, he said.
What brings the groups together is a common enemy – Jews – and business interests, say law enforcement officials. Neo-Nazi skinheads are deeply involved in drug-running and human smuggling gangs – two areas of common interest with Islamists.
Long before Katsav warned about the links between the neo-Nazis and the jihadists, Germany’s minister of the interior, Otto Schily, the Muslim Hizb ut-Tahir, or Party of Liberation, which had ties with the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party. Hizb ut-Tahir, an organization with acolytes in many European countries, wants to unite the Muslim world in a single theocratic state under a caliph, or supreme Muslim leader.
Schily banned the group in 2002 after accusing it of “spreading violent propaganda and anti-Jewish agitation” and after receiving reports its representatives had met with members of the National Democratic Party in 2001. Schily is now considering a ban on activities by Hezbollah members in Germany.
Three million or more Muslims live in Germany, comprising about 4 percent of its population.
There is also a community of 100,000 ethnic German converts to Islam. One of them, Steven Smyrek, was arrested and imprisoned in Israel some years ago on charges of being a Hezbollah agent. He was released in 2004 in an Israel-Hezbollah prisoner swap, and now lives in Germany as a free man.
The mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Mohammed Atta, lived and studied in Hamburg, a major port in northern Germany.
Twenty-five thousand to 30,000 Muslims in Germany are members of radical Islamic organizations, according to a ministry of interior official.
Meanwhile, neo-Nazi skinhead numbers are swelling throughout Europe.
As Swiss President Samuel Schmid stood on the Rutli Meadow last week commemorating the Swiss Federation, he was shocked by more than 700 skinheads and neo-Nazis wearing black T-shirts who stood facing him, waving their fists in a Nazi salute.
The number of militants amounted to more than one third of the people attending the event, twice the number registered in the 2004 celebrations. The skinheads, waving the Swiss national flag, were not shy about chanting slogans such as “Schmid is a traitor,” and other slurs aimed at minorities, especially against refugees from the third world. As is their common routine they also voiced hate expressions against the U.S. and the Jews.
Schmid was openly shaken as he realized he would not be able to finish his speech. He later expressed his anger and suggested that radical changes in future public celebrations of national day events should be seriously considered.
G2 Bulletin reports it has learned from a reliable source the stunned president did not waste any time contacting members of cabinet and other officials, telling them to get their act together and put an end to what he described as “hoodlums taking over a national holiday.”
In reality it was the 10th year in a row that the extremists have made the journey to the legendary meadow on the shores of Lake Lucerne, and their numbers have increased each year.
An analysis of the overall proliferation of skinhead movements that originated in the UK, where they first appeared as gangs in the ’60s, shows the Swiss numbers probably represent only a small fraction of the total number. Overall figures of those directly involved with skinheads, who later also joined neo-Nazi and fascist movements is well over 150,000 worldwide.
An Interpol source said the skinheads are well-organized, citing a number of events this year including a mass gathering during a concert near Germany. At that event, French and German police tried to stop hundreds of French and Italian skinheads and neo-Nazis from crossing the border into Germany.
Other notable events this year were neo-Nazi gatherings in Germany including Berlin and neo-Nazi and skinheads’ demonstrations in the Baltic States and Scandinavia. Skinheads and neo-Nazis are a growing menace in Poland and in parts of Russia where they are accused of having committed murders, arson attacks, robberies and of cooperating with organized crime elements.
Russian law enforcement agencies are witnessing constant clashes between skinhead gangs and the police and murders of foreigners.
A Swiss official with the federal police, reacting on the Rutli Meadow event, bitterly emphasized agents have to divert attention from pressing issues related to the global war on terrorism to monitor skinheads, neo-Nazis, bikers and other street gangs.
They need to recognize who is who in these radical movements and to prevent gangs from becoming hired guns or suppliers of forged documents, weapons and explosives later used against governments at war with jihadi Islam.
The danger posed by the skinhead-Islamist alliance is being compared with the fast-growing menace of Central American street gangs, such as the Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, who are now the largest and most dangerous criminal group in several Latin American countries and in the U.S. MS-13, too, has been known to meet with al-Qaida operatives and is believed to be involved in smuggling some into the U.S. across the Mexican border.